Returning superyachts at forefront of legacy vision
With the America’s Cup over and only a few superyachts still in Bermuda, the operators of new marinas on the island are looking to the future.
The Bermuda Tourism Authority has expressed hope that the superyachts — which can each pump as much as $127,000 a week into the economy — will make Bermuda a regular stop, with both the Caroline Bay Marina and the Hamilton Princess hoping to benefit.
A total of 68 superyachts visited Bermuda last year, while more than 80 super yachts were expected on the island during the America’s Cup alone, according to the America’s Cup Event Authority.
Craig Christensen, president and CEO of Morgan’s Point Ltd, said he believed that the superyachts would return, although perhaps not during the summer months.
“Many of the superyacht owners that we spoke to over America’s Cup had never been to Bermuda before on their yachts,” Mr Christensen said. “They think it is an idyllic place for sailing, especially in the shoulder months as most yachts are on their way to, or returning from the Mediterranean or East Coast for the season.
“Getting them back in the summer months may be challenging for most. Bermuda is ideally located as a great stopover to these destinations so there is a good chance we may see some repeat business as a result of their exposure to Bermuda during AC35 but probably not too much in the summer.
“As far as the Caroline Bay development goes, it is our wish that, as the superyacht community discovers Bermuda and the new services offered, the island and Caroline Bay Marina will become a destination for larger numbers of superyachts over the next few years.
“This, in conjunction with the development of the Ritz-Carlton Reserve hotel and residences, will provide a level of service and quality never before offered in Bermuda.”
Meanwhile, Allan Federer, general manager at the Hamilton Princess and Beach Club, said the marina at the hotel was expected to remain busy at least through the summer.
“We are moving into an exceptionally strong July and expect to see growth in August,” he said.
“Beyond that will depend on the return of business travel in the fall. We expect business in the fourth quarter to be better than last year but it is too early to tell.”
In a statement, the Bermuda Tourism Authority said that Bermuda’s successful hosting of the America’s Cup has left the island in good position to host future sailing events and return visits from superyachts.
While Bermuda has been ruled out as the host of the 36th America’s Cup, the BTA noted a series of events that had been added to the calendar in the wake of AC35.
Along with the ITU World Triathlon series, set to come to Bermuda in 2018, 2019 and 2020, several sailing events have been announced for next year including the Oyster Regatta Bermuda next May, and both the Moth World Championship and the Atlantic Anniversary Regatta next June.
Kevin Dallas, BTA CEO, said: “Using the momentum of the America’s Cup to set the stage for future tourism, growth has always been a goal of the Bermuda Tourism Authority. Bermuda is well on her way to accomplishing that goal.”
According to a spokesman, the BTA is now “actively vetting the feasibility” of hosting further sports-related events including future superyacht and J Class regattas, similar to those that took place during AC35.
“The 2017 superyacht regatta attracted about twice the number of entrants that raced in San Francisco during the 34th America’s Cup, while the convergence of eight J Class boats in Bermuda was the largest gathering in history — even more than raced at any one time in the 1930s and 1940s when the majestic sailing vessels competed for the America’s Cup,” the spokesman noted.
The BTA has also stated that it would recommend that government pass legislation to incentivise superyacht owners to come to Bermuda more often.
Mr Dallas said: “It’s very clear that the relaxed legislation put in place during the America’s Cup was a huge incentive for superyachts to visit Bermuda, stay longer and spend more into our local economy.
“We will encourage parliamentarians to create a similar environment on a permanent basis, while also protecting local charter operators. This is an absolute necessity if Bermuda is going to seize superyacht tourism as an America’s Cup legacy benefit.”